January 22, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Inter-family arguments, divorces, relocations and deaths might all yield a scenario in which an Ohio grandparent loses contact with his or her grandchild. While sometimes arrangements can be made between the child's parents and grandparents that will allow the relationship between grandparent and grandchild to continue, in some cases such an agreement isn't possible. In that situation, the grandparent might need to seek court intervention in order to have visitation time with a beloved grandchild.
The Ohio state legislature recognizes the importance of the grandparent-grandchild relationship, which is why there is a provision allowing grandparents to seek visitation rights. The grandparent visitation statue is codified in Ohio Revised Code Section 3109.051
. That statute provides the circumstances in which grandparents, relatives, acquaintances or "any person related to the child by consanguinity or affinity" can request that the court order the child's parent or guardian to grant visitation time.
The timing of the motion is important. Courts can consider requests for grandparent visitation
filed during a legal proceeding involving a child, which can include actions for divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, annulment, child custody or child support. Once a motion has been filed, the judge can make a determination as to whether the visitation should be granted. This largely rests upon what the judge considers to be in the "best interests of the child." The same standard - "best interests of the child" - that applies to custody proceedings also applies for visitation/parenting time requests, but the analysis is slightly different.
The judge's job is not an easy one. When making a determination about a visitation request, the judge must carefully consider all the facts of a given case as applicable to the factors set forth in the statute. These include:
- Prior relationship/contact between the person requesting visitation and the child
- Relationships the child has between people other than the person requesting visitation (siblings, parents, friends, other relatives, etc.)
- Geographical distance between the person requesting visitation and the child
- Age of the child
- Preference of the child (if he or she is deemed old or mature enough to express a preference)
- Child's adjustment to his or her current custody
situation, including home, school and community
- Schedule of child's custodian (including work, school, extracurricular activities, religious expression, vacations, etc.) to determine if he or she physically has time to accommodate a visitation request by making the child available
- Health and safety of the child
- Wishes of the child's parent or parents
- Mental and physical condition of all parties
- Amount of time child would have available to spend with parents and siblings if visitation is granted
- Abuse or neglect the child may have suffered at the hands of (or because of the action/inaction of) any of the parties involved
Children are creatures of habit, and the need for structure in their lives might overpower the desire of a loved one to spend time with them. Any request to change or disrupt a child's life - even for only a few hours a week, such as visitation with a grandparent - must be carefully considered. It is vital that the person seeking custody set forth the most persuasive argument why visitation should be granted, and that the request is submitted in precise compliance with court rules. For help seeking court approval, or using collaborative law to negotiate an out-of-court settlement for visitation with your grandchildren, contact an Ohio family law attorney in your area.
Article provided by Lawrence Law Office
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